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Post Ignition switch - inside to fix START lockout

I have managed to restore normal 'starter' function to my ignition switch. Others have described the same problem without a solution short of purchasing a used or new switch. So I thought I would describe what I did with pictures. I also rekeyed the ignition lock cylinder, so I'll describe that with photos too.

My problem was that I could not reliably get the ignition key to the start position. Normal function is that the first time traveling from OFF to START the key position moves past ACC and ON and then against spring resistance to activate the starter. Once back to ON, you can't turn the key back to START without going back to OFF. My switch was getting better and better at refusing to go to START until after multiple attempts. I tried graphite lubricant a month ago, if anything that made it worse.

Electrical Portion - I started by removing the electrical portion of the switch while leaving the mechanical portion under the dash. Getting to that top screw took a tiny screw driver, a dental mirror and a ton of patience. I had read and also been told by a seasoned mechanic that the Start lockout and spring effect occurred in the electrical portion of the switch. After separating the two parts I discovered that at least in midyear 911's replacing the $55 electrical portion will not fix the lockout problem. The Starter position lockout occurs in the mechanical portion.

Mechanical Portion - I was able to easily remove my breakoff bolts which didn't offer much resistance to turning. After backing off the 13mm locknut and 4mm hex set screw toward the steering shaft, I had the malfunctioning piece in my hand. Decision time. I could buy a new one for $545, or a used one cheaper and risk it being in worse shape than mine. The other option was to try and figure out what was wrong. None of the ignition switch posts or Wayne's book details what is inside other than to say that a pin needs to be drilled out.



John Walker got me off on the right start by suggesting that the pin is best removed by drilling the soft metal of the body beside the pin just deep enough to pry the pin out. I used a 1/10" bit and drilled about that depth beside the pin. Once the pin is out the tumbler/cylinder and it's case slide out. On the back of this portion lies the START lockout mechanism.





I could see how the START lockout mechanism was malfunctioning. Don't read the rest of this paragraph unless you really want to know how hard it is to describe. There is a thin circular plate that in most of its rotation prevents a pin from springing out of the lock body and into a sloped groove on the back plate, in order to stop rotation short of the START position. The thin plate has a gap where the pin can move into the groove. The plate gap was staying with the pin, and the pin was projecting through the gap in the plate allowing it to slip into the groove every time, preventing movement into the START position. In normal function the thin plate is pushed along by raised limits on the backplate, so that turning the key to OFF puts the thin plate over the pin for the next pass to START. My back plate had loosened from the cylinder creating a gap that caused the back plate not to move the thin plate over the pin as the cylinder and key were turned. The back plate is pressed onto two projections from the cylinder which each had a '+' sign where pressure had been placed 32 years ago to expand the black metal of the cylinder to engage it in the back plate. The sprung pin caused the back plate to separate from the rest of the mechanism by 1/16" or so.



ReKey steps - So I continued to disassemble. I was able to easily separate the back plate off the cylinder projections and remove the thin plate, pin and its spring. Since I was rekeying and wanted to clean everything completely I removed the circlip that keeps the cylinder in the lock body. You better put a key into the lock before removing the cylinder, otherwise 10 lock tabs and 10 tiny springs can separate from the cylinder. Once the cylinder is out of the body, remove the key while controlling both sides where the tumbler tabs are. Remove, count, clean and inventory the parts.



I soaked the parts in kerosene then cleaned it all up. My rekeying obviated the elimination of two of the tumbler tabs. A small concession. I was able to rekey my cylinder while I was in there, but it is recommended that the easier locks be done to unify the keys instead (but my Targa has four, and I didn't have an ignition Valet key either). I had two reasons to get in there, so I did it. At the very least, do not open this up unless you are familiar with disassembling the door locks, cleaning, lubing and reassembling/keying them ...... and they worked afterwards!



I used TriFlow lubricant I found at the local Ace hardware store. It cleans, it dries, it lubricates without a sticky substance that can attract dirt or dry to a hard crust. No grease in the locks. When new to me, my passenger door lock was frozen when all the tabs quit moving after years of non-use in dry lithium grease. WD40, graphite and silicone may all work too, but this TriFlow stuff seems great.

Then, it was time to put it back together and fix the lockout problem at the same time. I reassembled the lock with the back plate and had an assistant hammer a punch on the projections with the key hole placed on a 2x4 to protect it. It was held on securely, square and operated appropriately. I slid the lock into the assembly, replaced the pin and glued around the pin and the pry hole I drilled.

The mechanical portion also has several other functions that are deep to the lock cylinder and Start lockout mechanism. Those functions are the steering wheel lock, key IN buzzer and the shaft that transfers rotation to the electrical portion. I did not tempt fate by going into well functioning areas. If someone has a mechanical portion that has these defects it looks like a big cap opposite the steering lock shaft could be removed using a similar drill and pry technique. Incidentally, I noted that the steering wheel lock only engages when the key is removed. So you can unlock the steering wheel by turning the key to ON then back to OFF and leave the key in place. No need to disconnect the battery to have a free moving steering wheel in the garage.

Examining and understanding the lockout mechanism and its failure gave me an idea for a temporary trick that may work. Pushing the cylinder over the key into the lock while turning the key may close the gap behind the cylinder and help move the thin plate where it needs to go. If you have the Start lockout problem try the "cylinder push" and see if it works. Report here if it does.

My ignition switch moves to START consistently now, but it doesn't lockout unless moved at the ON position slightly beyond where the spring rests. I can live with that for a time, perhaps my electrical portion isn't perfect after all. Another possibility is that I might have put the thin plate on upside down - the function of that hole appears to make the plate move at that postition until being shoved over by the back plates ridges when at the START position. That should work if positioned the way it is in the picture below - but I'm not really sure how I finally assembled it - learn from my mistake. There were scratches on the thin plate that I thought were made by the pin - I could have been wrong.



Perhaps this fix will become an alternative to new ignition switches and push button starter rewires.
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Last edited by notmytarga; 12-02-2007 at 10:13 PM..
Old 05-24-2007, 10:27 AM
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Woohoo, first one to respond to a nearly 7 year old post!
Old 02-13-2014, 11:40 PM
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if you leave the pin and spring out, you get rid of the starter lockout issue that a worn switch develops. saves $500 for a new steering lock assembly.
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Old 02-14-2014, 05:17 AM
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Thanks for this great thread. I managed by following your advice to remove the tumbler unit from the lock body. In my case it is from a '66 911 and this is a bit different. I am stuck now on how to get the tumbler out of its housing.
At the front is this semicircular die cast bit which holds the 'turnkey'. There seems to be a pin which goes right through it at its base, but I can't drive it out and don't want to use too much force.

Has someone already worked on this type?

The key started not to turn occasionally and doesn't turn at all now. I cleaned the tumbler unit with petrol and relubed it. The key goes in quite smoothly and I worked it in the tumbler for some time now but it doesn't helped.

Any ideas?

Here some pictures how it looks:






Old 09-24-2014, 08:39 AM
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Remove the cross pin?

Think you've got to drive that pin near the back of the barrel out. Check this guys page, he seems to have just about every type of older Pcar ignition dissected:

914World.com - The fastest growing online 914 community!
Old 10-19-2014, 12:49 PM
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Big run on switch repair lately, it seems. Mine no longer turns either. It always was sticky.
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Old 10-22-2014, 05:56 PM
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See that black button between and above the left two gauges? Even looks like it belongs. Quicker to install than repairing the key lock system. But now I know how to get at what is behind the problem, and fix it. But I'm not going to take out the mechanism again just to do that. The button works great. Turn key. If it won't turn to START, push button - nothing lost. If it does turn to start (maybe one try of 20 now), super.

But great post and explanation. A keeper.
Old 10-22-2014, 08:11 PM
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great thread

credit where credit is due. Ive just rekeyed my lock thanks to this (72), great tip about drilling next to the pin, and then levering it up.

Awesome =)
Old 11-09-2015, 12:10 PM
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Old 11-16-2015, 06:54 AM
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Easiest way, once it's apart is to leave the pin and spring out. No lockout? so what?
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Old 11-16-2015, 08:38 AM
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Reviving an old post, but this forum has been invaluable and if I get the chance to give back I'm pleased to do so. Like many, my lockout feature was locking out when it should not, preventing starting 9 times out of 10. After struggling to get the switch out for what seemed like hours, and evaluating the workings of the switch, I went with the idea of eliminating the feature (pin, spring and plate).

My biggest challenge was removing and then installing the set screw. The bracket on my car was tilted back so access while lying with my head on the floor and the rest of me stretched across the seats easy very difficult. After what must have been a couple of hours with no progress, I realized that removing the lower steering column cover allows the bracket to be viewed and gave me access from both sides of the knee pad. I could get fingers from both hands on the set screw. It was still tedious, but I had the switch reinstalled in 10 minutes. I wish I had discovered this before removing the switch. I hope this is helpful to someone.
Old 06-08-2016, 08:28 PM
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Here are my tips for getting everything out:
78 SC Ignition Switch problems
Figure it can't hurt to cross post...
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Old 06-08-2016, 11:58 PM
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I just had this same problem and did the same repair. I used a Dremel to get out the pin by prying upwards. Once the pin is out turning the key and pulling helps get the lock barrel out.

I took the barrel to a locksmith to get it re-keyed to match my doors. He wouldn't open it because of the two punched pins that hold the back plate on. So I took it home and pried it off with a flat blade driver - it came off easily. They are not pins at all but part of the inner lock barrel.

The locksmith had no tumbler pins that matched - he sorted through old Audi, VW and Mercedes pins but no match (the Audi box said Porsche 924 as well). However, after doing some locksmith magic he figured out the key code or whatever based on the door key I was trying to match. He then found he could reconfigure the existing pins in a different order to make the set match the door key. So if it was 4123 he arranged it so it was 2314 - there was only one that was not there and he filed one of the others to make it work. He also cut me a new key to code instead of copying the old door key (which is worn, but nowhere near as bad as the old ignition). So the new key fits sweet in the ignition and door locks. In fact my passenger door was never much chop but with the new key it works well.

Reassembly was easy and I checked to make sure that the lock was turning well to the start and on position at each stage, and not getting caught. I refilled the ground-out hole with jb weld - I am concerned I have permanently set the ignition pin back in - but it could always be re drilled to get it out.
Once the job weld is dry I will fit it back in and hopefully I have solved the sticky ignition switch and re keyed my locks at the same time. The PO included some OEM key blanks in with the bag of parts the car came with, so I'll get them cut to suit and have proper Porsche ignition keys.

A couple of things I picked up along the way
- if you have the ignition stop problem where you can't turn the key to start, it's because of this
- the electrical switch contains the 'steps' in the key and the start spring back. All the lock barrel does is turn to the maximum and back again.
- in a 911sc, the ignition turn lockout is a mechanical action with the pin and disc in the lock barrel. I think in different models the lock out switch is in the electrical part, or doesn't exist.
- I am not sure I agree with the previous posters on this issue that the gap between the disc and pin is at fault. When the barrel is seated in the steering lock mechanism, it should be pressed flush and not have much movement.
- the very tip of the key provides key torque to turn the switch. The barrel only provides maybe 50% of the engagement area. Sticking the key in all the way is important
- I believe the issue with the stop lockout mechanism is lubricant related. In my case the grease was old and sticky, and the small hole that engages the start lockout pin was full of gunge. I probably didn't help this by endlessly squirting a myriad of lubricants into the hole trying to 'fix' the problem.
- I had a conversation with the locksmith about lubricants. He used a PTFE based grease for reassembling the lock, after cleaning everything. He said this is the best. Petroleum based greases and lubricants like wd40 attract dust and dirt and will eventually start to jam the locks. He suggested an organic or synthetic lube - lanolin works well. He said to squirt lots in with a straw because the biggest issue is not lubricant (it's not an engine bearing, it only turns 60 degrees) - it is built up dust and debris inside the lock. Thus the purpose of lubricant in the lock is to flush out foreign debris where possible. He also said that the graphite powder lubricants should never be used in car locks, because they eventually turn into mud and jam the mechanisms. I didn't ever use graphite on mine, but I'm guessing someone else did. It eventually settles at the bottom of the lock, right were the start lockout mechanism is located.

Anyway the whole exercise cost me about 3 hours and $60 for the locksmith. Highly recommended if you have this issue. Car will be back to starting well, matched set of keys with a nice tight lock fit, instead of the 'straw in a bag of marbles' feel.
Old 06-14-2017, 12:17 AM
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Ah bugger. Wish I had seen this post earlier. I decided to call out locksmith leicester to fix my ignition switch. To be fair, they did a good job, but would've been nice to have given it an attempt myself. Thanks for the thorough walkthrough. If I'm unfortunate enough to have this happen again, I'll attempt it myself next time.

Cheers.
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Old 08-04-2017, 08:34 AM
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